Hurricane Sandy, even with its left turn heard ’round the world, was well-forecasted by the National Hurricane Center.
But even with the accurate track forecast, the storm’s “cone of uncertainty,” the estimated track of the eye of the storm, had a range of 121 nautical miles, meaning it could have hit anywhere between Stamford, Connecticut, and Fredricksburg, Virginia.
As it turned out, the storm’s eye made landfall on Brigantine.
The National Hurricane Center has tracked the intensity and location of storms since 1970 and noted errors in forecasts.
And overall, there have been improvements in both the tracking and measuring of intensity of storms since then, although intensity forecasting lags the improvements in track forecasting.
Since 1970, the so-called “cone of uncertainty” has shrunk, from 253.8 nautical miles then to 121 nautical miles in 2012. Now, the cone is 103 miles. These distances reflect the cone at three days before landfall. An earlier, larger, five-day cone is also standard.
“The computer models that we have continue to be better and better. As more observations and data go into the models, we are able to better understand how a storm will move,” said meteorologist Michael Brennan, now the acting chief of the NHC’s Hurricane Specialist Unit.
As part of the Hurricane Specialist Unit, Brennan leads the team responsible for issuing the watches and warnings for tropical systems in the North Atlantic Basin, which includes the United States. They also provide the “big-picture forecast” for other countries, including those in the Caribbean.
When it is not hurricane season, an offseason defined as Dec. 1 to May 31, Brennan and his department conduct weeklong trainings for the emergency management community and the National Weather Service.
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President Barack Obama, left, embraces Donna Vanzant, right, during a tour of a neighborhood effected by superstorm Sandy, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 in Brigantine, N.J. Vanzant is a owner of North Point Marina, which was damaged by the storm. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
This aerial photo shows a collapsed house along the central Jersey Shore coast on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. New Jersey got the brunt of Sandy, which made landfall in the state and killed six people. More than 2 million customers were without power as of Wednesday afternoon, down from a peak of 2.7 million. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Marine One, carrying President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, take an aerial tour of the Atlantic Coast in New Jersey in areas damaged by superstorm Sandy, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, Pool)
FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon arrival at Atlantic City International Airport in Atlantic City, N.J., to visit areas damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Obama with Christie at his side, will visit the recovering coast on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in an effort to reinforce a message of effective government, bipartisanship and economic opportunity. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
Large waves generated by Hurricane Sandy crash into Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 as the storm moves up the east coast. Hurricane Sandy, upgraded again Saturday just hours after forecasters said it had weakened to a tropical storm, was barreling north from the Caribbean and was expected to make landfall early Tuesday near the Delaware coast, then hit two winter weather systems as it moves inland, creating a hybrid monster storm. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
This aerial photo of Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, shows the New York skyline and harbor. The vast destruction wreaked by the storm surge in New York could have been prevented with a sea barrier of the type that protects major cities in Europe, some scientists and engineers say. The multibillion-dollar price tag of such a project has been a hindrance, but may appear more palatable after the damage from Superstorm Sandy has been tallied. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A parking lot full of yellow cabs is flooded as a result of superstorm Sandy on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 in Hoboken, NJ. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
Sand marks the floodwater line on the side of a house in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Long Beach, N.Y. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Ariel Nadelberg of the Brooklyn borough of New York pours hot soup in a cup at a parking lot that has become make shift place where those in need can get food and clothing in a Rockaway neighborhood of the borough of Queens, New York, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, as efforts to bring goods and services to people goes on in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Many volunteers have shown up on their own to try to lend a hand any way they can. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
A dog named Shaggy is handed from a National Guard truck to National Guard personnel after the dog and his owner left a flooded building in Hoboken, N.J., Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the wake of superstorm Sandy. Some residents and pets are being plucked from their homes by large trucks as parts of the city are still covered in standing water. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Storm surge hits a small tree as winds from Hurricane Sandy reach Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Conn., Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. Water from Long Island Sound spilled into roadways and towns along the Connecticut shoreline Monday, the first signs of flooding from a storm that threatens to deliver a devastating surge of seawater. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Homes severely damaged last October by Superstorm Sandy, are seen along the beach Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Mantoloking, N.J. Six months after Sandy devastated the Jersey shore and New York City and pounded coastal areas of New England, the region is dealing with a slow and frustrating, yet often hopeful, recovery. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Grace Chow, 22, of New York, pours water from one bucket to another for a resident on the twentieth floor at Confucius Plaza in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, power outages have also meant loss of water for some buildings. Chow and Matthew Hom, 26, also of New York, are volunteering for the New York United Dragon and Lion Dance group. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Damage caused by a fire at Breezy Point is shown Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in in the New York City borough of Queen. The fire destroyed between 80 and 100 houses Monday night in the flooded neighborhood. More than 190 firefighters have contained the six-alarm blaze fire in the Breezy Point section, but they are still putting out some pockets of fire. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Firefighters look up at the facade of a four-story building on 14th Street and 8th Avenue that collapsed onto the sidewalk Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in New York. Hurricane Sandy bore down on the Eastern Seaboard's largest cities Monday, forcing the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets, sending coastal residents fleeing, and threatening a dangerous mix of high winds, soaking rain and a surging wall of water up to 11 feet tall. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
Matt Daly, 12, of Connecticut, places a U.S. flag atop a pile of sand removed from streets in the Rockaways, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. Despite power returning to many neighborhoods in the metropolitan area after Superstorm Sandy crashed into the Eastern Seaboard, many residents of the Rockaways continue to live without power and heat due to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Waves pound a lighthouse on the shores of Lake Erie Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, near Cleveland. High winds spinning off the edge of superstorm Sandy took a vicious swipe at northeast Ohio early Tuesday, uprooting trees, cutting power to hundreds of thousands, closing schools and flooding parts of major commuter arteries that run along Lake Erie. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Vehicles are submerged on 14th Street near the Consolidated Edison power plant, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in New York. Sandy continued on its path Monday, as the storm forced the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets, sending coastal residents fleeing, and threatening a dangerous mix of high winds and soaking rain. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
A worker shovels sand out of homeowner Sandy Forino's living room in Longport, N.J., Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, after it was carried in by surge from Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Beverly Stricklin, 48, of Coney Island, cries as she waits in a food line in her neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. A steady stream of volunteers, food, and supplies continues to flow into the Coney Island community as electricity is progressively restored to the area battered by Superstorm Sandy. Despite the return of power in most homes, heat and hot water is still offline throughout many of the area's public housing communities. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)